Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Wisdom of Campervan Woman

Taking care of the family is an important and rewarding job, but how far do you push yourself before you give yourself permission to take a break?  

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away. - Barbara De Angelis

I was a brilliant mother when my children were young.  I was patient, kind, creative and always gentle - then they'd come home from school!  My fantasy mothering was brilliant, the reality version ... a little lacking. I love my kids, but there were days when I would long (and yes, I confess, sometimes threaten) to get a Campervan and run away to be on my own in peace and quiet. 

It took me a while to understand that Campervan Woman's arrival was a sign to take care of myself better, but she needed to show up much sooner if she was going to help me handle the stress of family life more effectively.  

First I had to navigate the barbs of the inner voice who sneered 'putting your needs first is self-centred, indulgent and, therefore, bad mothering' and work through my beliefs about what constituted a good or a bad mother.   

It was a relief to understand that the best way to help my children was to learn to take better care of myself.  Recognising my needs and taking responsibility for them was something that was not only good for them because I became calmer, more centred and happier, it also taught them a valuable life lesson; taking care of and valuing your inner life is important for the quality your outer life.

Getting to know my inner Campervan Woman was wonderful - she liked space to herself and time in nature.  She was calm, centred and very clear about her abilities, limitations, strengths and boundaries and got me learning all kinds of new and interesting stuff.  The most interesting part of all of that was that the more I gave to myself, the more I was able to share with my family.

These days I have a yearning for a Shepherd's Hut.  Obviously Campervan Woman has mellowed a great deal and is a little less hungry for the open road. 

I respect the creative, sensitive part of myself and understand the need for, and value of, solitude and calm. It is not only okay to take time for and care of myself, it is vital for my well-being and that of my family.

No comments: